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Mid-Day Digest

Aug. 20, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“When Men are employ’d they are best contented. For on the Days they work’d they were good-natur’d and chearful; and with the consciousness of having done a good Days work they spent the Evenings jollily; but on the idle Days they were mutinous and quarrelsome, finding fault with their Pork, the Bread, and in continual ill-humour.” —Benjamin Franklin (1771)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

The Left’s Strategy to Undermine the Economy

Back in July, consumer confidence in the economy soared to the highest level of 2019. The Leftmedia, propaganda arm of the Democrat Party that it is, couldn’t abide such optimism, so over the last three weeks American consumers have been inundated with stories designed to undermine that confidence. Lo and behold, the latest consumer confidence numbers show it falling steeply to the lowest level since January.

Just because Patriot Post readers see the media’s bias and agenda clearly doesn’t mean our family, friends, and neighbors do. The mainstream media remains a very powerful influencer. The necessary caveat is that the Leftmedia has been touting economic doom and gloom for the last two years. One confidence survey plunge doesn’t a recession make.

But here’s the bottom line: Democrats want a recession (as do their supporters) and their path to make it happen is to undermine consumer confidence by undermining President Donald Trump while insisting a recession is coming. Mark Alexander wrote over a decade ago that while there are threats to the U.S. economy, it is floated first and foremost on consumer confidence. Alexander now says, “The Left’s impeachment threat has always been a political charade to undermine confidence in the continued success of Trump’s economic policies by undermining confidence that he would not win a second term to continue those policies. And notably, while consumer confidence is very high right now, it is all about perception, and perceptions are fragile in the sense that they are subject to erosion by threats and fear.”

One story Monday that threatens confidence was a National Association for Business Economics survey of 200 economists. Some 38% of those surveyed see a recession coming in 2020, while 34% say it will arrive in 2021. For those economists — and for consumers if media reports are accurate — tariffs and trade negotiations with China are the elephant in the room. We certainly concede that Trump’s tariff escalation is economically painful, though we’ve also said numerous times that he’s fighting a trade war he did not start.

We’d also add that the global economic picture reveals other reasons for concern. Germany, Great Britain, Mexico, and several other nations are either in recession or teetering on the edge of one. China’s powerful economy is slowing significantly due to the pain of American tariffs. Can the U.S. economy remain strong in the face of global weakness?

Another drag on the economy is our massive national debt, which Trump and Democrats just agreed to run up even higher. Can the U.S. economy remain strong when the federal debt equals $69,000 for each American — or $240,000 if you include unfunded liabilities?

That all notwithstanding, no economy or outlook is ever perfect. But many indicators in the U.S. economy are strong. Unemployment is historically low, wages are growing, Wall Street is trending up (with bumps along the way), and consumers are still confident. While Trump has insisted that “our economy is very strong,” he’s also calling for and preparing actions to stave off any weakness. CNN claims he’s testing a “materialistic message,” which is elitist-speak for how Americans should just learn to live with less. If the economy does turn south and a Democrat wins the White House in 2020, Americans may indeed be faced with living with less.

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Planned Parenthood Chooses Abortion Over Family Planning

In a move that further exposes the fact that Planned Parenthood sees providing abortions as its primary purpose, the nation’s foremost abortion mill pulled itself from receiving Title X grant money rather than comply with the Trump administration’s new rule. Following the Ninth Circuit Court’s refusal to stay the rule’s implementation, which Planned Parenthood had requested, the abortion provider elected to forgo $60 million in annual federal grant money, roughly 15% of the overall federal funding the group receives each year.

In a statement Monday, Planned Parenthood sought to paint a different picture, claiming that the group was “being forced out” by President Donald Trump. That explanation couldn’t be further from the truth, as the new rule follows seamlessly with the original intent of the Title X program — a program designed to help low-income Americans with family planning and that explicitly notes that “none of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.” The Trump administration’s new rule serves to clarify and maintain Title X’s prohibition against abortion funding by forbidding any clinic that receives Title X funding from referring a patient to an abortion provider.

Additionally, the rule sets a physical separation restriction for Title X funding and abortion facilities. As The Daily Signal explains, “The rule also establishes that program participants must maintain both financial and physical separation between Title X activities and non-Title X activities. In other words, organizations like Planned Parenthood can’t conduct Title X activity in one room while performing non-Title X-related abortions in another room down the hall.”

While Planned Parenthood contends that abortion is only a small percentage of the overall “health” services it offers, this decision to withdraw from Title X belies that claim. The truth is that the poor and minorities have long been the targets of Planned Parenthood with its commitment to population control — consistent with the racist views of its founder and feminist icon, Margaret Sanger.

Trump’s decision is a welcome one because it prioritizes protecting the lives of the unborn and cuts back on some taxpayer funding going to abortion providers.

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ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

TOP NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

MORE TAX RELIEF? “Several senior White House officials have begun discussing whether to push for a temporary payroll tax cut as a way to arrest an economic slowdown,” The Washington Post reveals. However, “Even though deliberations about the payroll tax cut were held Monday, the White House released a statement disputing that the idea was actively under ‘consideration.’”

WARRANTLESS SEARCHES: Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reaffirmed that “border officials may conduct suspicionless manual searches of cell phones.” But as Reason’s Damon Root uneasily writes, “The U.S. Supreme Court has long recognized a ‘border search exception’ to the Fourth Amendment’s normal warrant requirement. But the Court has yet to address whether that exception deserves to hold sway in the current era of smartphones and related high-tech devices.”

CHIEF OF PRISON BUREAU REPLACED: “Attorney General William Barr announced Monday the appointment of a new director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons following the shocking suicide of accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein inside a federal lockup earlier this month. … The change in leadership comes amid the fallout from the death of Epstein, 66, who hanged himself in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Aug. 10 while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy.” (Fox News)

MORE WHITEWASHING: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D., Mass.) presidential campaign removed her DNA test ancestry video on Monday as her campaign attempts to put the issue behind her. The Warren campaign scrubbed their launch video where it showed Warren talking about a DNA test which was supposed to counter President Donald Trump’s ‘attacks’ on her heritage. The release of Warren’s DNA test results was not well received, as the test revealed she could be anywhere from 1/64th to 1/1024th Native American.” (The Washington Free Beacon)

ANTITRUST PROBE: “A group of states is preparing to move forward with a joint antitrust investigation of big technology companies, according to people familiar with the situation, adding another layer of scrutiny to an industry already under a federal spotlight. The effort involving state attorneys general is expected to be formally launched as soon as next month, the people said. It is likely to focus on whether a handful of dominant technology platforms use their marketplace powers to stifle competition.” (The Wall Street Journal)

SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS PREVAIL: “New York Police Department officer Daniel Pantaleo has been fired, five years after he was filmed putting his arms around Eric Garner’s neck while trying to arrest him for allegedly selling loose cigarettes,” according to The Daily Wire. This despite the Justice Department opting not to charge the officer last month. Our Mark Alexander analyzed this case in 2014, ultimately concluding, “The case isn’t exactly black and white.”

VILLAGE ACADEMIC CURRICULUM: “Only half of all Americans now have a positive view of colleges and universities, according to a new survey from Pew Research,” Reason’s Robby Soave reveals. “The number of people who take a negative view has increased from 26 percent in 2012 to 38 percent in 2019. The change largely reflects a growing dissatisfaction on the right with the culture of college campuses. The percentage of Republicans who see value in higher education has collapsed in recent years, from 53 percent in 2012 to just 23 percent in 2019.” One explanation is because, as Campus Reform observes, “Social justice majors and other social justice-themed activities are becoming an increasingly regular occurrence on college campuses.”

SHOW OF FORCE: “The U.S. military conducted the first test of a ground-launched cruise missile since the United States withdrew from the landmark 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia this month.” (The Washington Free Beacon)

ISIS RESURGENCE: “Five months after American-backed forces ousted the Islamic State from its last shard of territory in Syria, the terrorist group is gathering new strength, conducting guerrilla attacks across Iraq and Syria, retooling its financial networks and targeting new recruits at an allied-run tent camp, American and Iraqi military and intelligence officers said.” (The New York Times)

POLICY: How the U.S. should approach talks with the Taliban (The Daily Signal)

POLICY: Solar energy: Good for virtue signaling and not much else (Issues & Insights)

HUMOR: Bernie Sanders arrives in Hong Kong to lecture protesters on how good they have it under communism (The Babylon Bee)

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Rich Lowry: “The New York Times has begun the so-called 1619 Project, marking the 400th anniversary of the importation of slaves from Africa. The series seeks nothing less than ‘to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.’ It is certainly true that an American nation existed prior to the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and slavery was its great sin, with permutations still felt today. But to pretend that racism is the essence of America and constituted one of the country’s founding principles is an odious and reductive lie. … In the broadest gauge, it’s a mistake to treat the United States as an outlier in terms of its racial attitudes, when it was really an outlier in its (imperfect) embrace of liberty.”

SHORT CUTS

For the record: “The Democratic Party [is attempting] to figure out a way to dupe the African-American voters, not only in South Carolina but around the country, because they really have nothing but empty promises to run on. … There is nothing left to try to reel in the African-American community, because President Trump and the Republican Party has done a very good job of focusing on improving the economic outcome of people who have been struggling for the last decade under the previous administration.” —Sen. Tim Scott

Observations: “The NYT is destroying itself w/ Trump hatred. And it’s ultimately bad for freedom of the press when ‘journalists’ openly revel in being partisan propagandists. When our Nation is so tribalised that each side has their own ‘news’ & ‘facts’ and we don’t even talk to each other.” —Ted Cruz

Braying Jenny I: “We give Israel more than three million [sic] dollars in aid every year. This is predicated on their being an important ally in the region and ‘the only democracy in the Middle East.’ But denying a visit to duly-elected members of Congress is not consistent with being an ally, and denying millions of people freedom of movement or expression or self-determination is not consistent with being a democracy.” —Rep. Ilhan Omar

Braying Jenny II: “I think the focus is the hiding of the truth and hiding that the occupation [of Palestinian land] is happening. I think they knew that us [sic] setting foot [in Israel] would basically bring attention to something that many of us feel is very much against international human rights.” —Rep. Rashida Tlaib

Blame shifting: “Our colleagues that are senior members, some of whom have served multiple terms, actually told us about the organization [sponsoring us]. We’re not the ones who chose the organization. A U.S.-based sponsor organization chose it.” —Rashida Tlaib

Try telling that to Andy Ngo: “It’s not surprising that Trump would side away from the folks who are the peaceful protesters working to safeguard their city from domestic terrorism.” —Rep. Deb Haaland on Portland’s “peaceful” antifa

The BIG Lie: “We have always struggled with voter suppression. But what’s happened in the last 20 years is that it’s gone underground.” —Stacey Abrams

And last… “Racism is not dead, but it is on life support — kept alive by politicians, race hustlers and people who get a sense of superiority by denouncing others as ‘racists.’” —Thomas Sowell

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